The Euros are over at last! Celebrate, as now we can finally move onto Liverpool and the tidal wave of news that's erupted since Spain breezed past Italy in yesterday's final in Kiev. Like the type of boots that Luis Suarez wore when he was eight and how Stuart Pearce will be guiding his freshly-named Great Britain squad to Olympic glory with a poorly-constructed imitation of what Roy Hodgson did with the senior side. Okay, maybe not so much celebrating.
** After worrying about a fairly high number of Liverpool players in Poland and the Ukraine during the past month--five in the England squad, Daniel Agger (who counts quadruple), and Pepe Reina (who doesn't count except for alcohol-related injuries in the celebration)--the announcement of squad members that'll take part in the Olympics for Great Britain is as relieving as we'd expected, with only Craig Bellamy set to take part. We've pretty much known that this would be the case, as touched on at the end of last week, and now it's official that he's included as one of the three over-age players, with Micah Richards and Ryan Giggs as the other two.
They'll start with a friendly against Brazil on July 20th, with actual Olympic action kicking off during the middle of the next week. Bellamy and company will be at Old Trafford on July 26th to face Senegal, who defeated Oman 2-0 in the playoff for the final qualification spot between the Confederation of African Football and the Asian Football Confederation. From there they'll meet the United Arab Emirates at Wembley three days later, and group play rounds off in Wales on August 1st as they meet Luis Suarez, Sebastian Coates, and Uruguay. As Noel mentioned last week, it surely rules out the trio (Uruguay hasn't yet released their official squad, but both are near-locks barring injury) from both the North American tour and the start of Liverpool's European campaign.
** The link above carries not only information about the boots young Luis Suarez wore, but also a review of the interview features the club carried throughout the 2011-2012 campaign. It's not exactly news of the recent sort, but it does revisit the Uruguayan's thoughts on Martin Skrtel, who's continually been linked with a move away from Liverpool over the summer, with Manchester City one of the more frequently linked clubs.
Towards the end of last week there was something that actually came from Skrtel himself, with most of the quotes indicating that he doesn't see his time at Liverpool ending any time soon:
"There is also speculation about my exit from Liverpool but I can say that there was no offer on the table yet and we didn't hold talks with any club. I will be leaving for Liverpool on July 6. I am very excited about new season. I hope we will be ready and this time it will be much better than in the last one"
So that's some sort of confirmation that he'll be a Liverpool player through July 6th and beyond, which is comforting considering the early-season barrage the club will face. As has been the case in the past, though, we'll find out for sure once the window closes. That's not some sort of cryptic he's really going to leave comment, as there's really no sense for Liverpool to consider any sort of interest from anyone. He was one of the league's best for a long stretch last season, has forged an effective partnership with Daniel Agger, and, most importantly, the alternative is Jamie Carragher gobbling up most of the minutes while Coates transitions back from Olympic duty. So yeah, Martin Skrtel staying. He said so and stuff.
That's about it on the Liverpool front for now--pickings are obviously pretty slim, even considering that the transfer window's officially been open for well over a day and Liverpool haven't signed any of the 134 players they've been linked with. If they are, or if anything concrete manages to surface, we'll be back later on in the day.
In the meantime, you can watch Pepe Reina's cameo as a flight attendant on the flight home after Spain's victory. Fun enough, but severely lacking the shouty, intoxicated, shirt-stuffing type of celebration that sent Arsenal supporters into a frenzy after the World Cup victory in 2010. Probably time for all that, and then a week or so to recover from the inevitable hangover.